Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re with Mary Scotton, the VP of Evangelism at Salesforce, to talk about what it means to be a builder, both on the platform and in the community.

More about this Insights session: how Mary helped build the Big Green Button and the non-traditional paths to becoming a builder.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mary Scotton and Gillian Bruce.

Making more people into Builders.

“To me, being a builder means that you are a creator and not just a consumer of technology,” Mary says, “you become the person who controls the internet, who made that page do the thing you wanted it to do.” It can be incredibly empowering to change your relationship to technology, and Salesforce as a platform is looking to enable new types of builders.

As Mary puts it, that’s why she came to Salesforce twelve years ago, “to create the type of platform I had seen in other technologies but do it on the web and put those tools on the cloud.” That was a long time ago (in Salesforce years), but what attracted Mary to the job was the amount of building there was to do. For one thing, it meant there was a lot of job security, but for another, it meant that she could really have a big impact. “What gets me up in the morning is this idea of enabling people who are not programmers to build business apps,” Mary says, “I love the idea that someone who doesn’t have a programming background can be successful building applications for their business.”

The birth of the Big Green Button.

One Gillian’s fondest memories of her first time making an app was using the Magic Green Button, and that button was created by none other than Mary Scotton (co-designed with Sarah Franklin). Ultimately, the question it asked was “what are you trying to track?”

For Gillian’s first app, it was the use-case of trying to manage her wedding. “People are intimidated, they don’t know if they can build a warehouse management app or whether they’d want to, so we break it down in terms of what is something in your life that you need to track?” From there, you just need to build out all the metadata, what the object looks like, what the page looks like, what the page layout would be, what the permission set would be. That’s how you can make something quickly and see the power of Salesforce: “you didn’t code that page or write the logic to save that data but yet you can do that with the Big Green Button.”

Making the simple things simple and the hard things possible.

Mary’s work enabling new communities and new people to the Salesforce ecosystem has had a lot of lasting impact. For new builders, it means you can have a bigger footprint in your company, and seeing those opportunities. “I think people succeed when they are proactive,” Mary says, if you see a department that’s still tracking things on spreadsheets or (heavens forbid) on paper, you can figure out how you can help that department be successful without asking someone else to do it for you.

If you want to help another department, you just need to spend time thinking about the data model and the rest of it takes care of itself. You’re not investing months of work, just a day or so, and that means you can grow your value and your presence in your company. That gives people from a business or project management background the ability to bring that mindset into being a builder, or, as Gillian puts it, “that’s Admin magic.”

That’s not to say that you can just press the Big Green Button and have everything figured out. You can get 80% of the way there, but sometimes you just need to bring a friend. Making a Developer friend can do a lot for you. “The guiding principle for the platform has always been to make the simple things simple and the hard things possible,” Mary says, and the tools we have are always getting better.

Be A Builder: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/offers/beabuilder

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